Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Few 2008 Discoveries

While so many are coming up with their "Top Ten" lists (see previous post by Zuppa di Banjo) of 2008, a practice I never could really get enthusiastic about, I thought that, alternatively, I would share some of my favorite musical discoveries of the past year. I won't try to come up with a nice, round number of them, or put them in any particular order, but here a few...

* Detektivbyrån: Earlier this year we were pitched by this band by Hedningarna's Swedish booking agent for consideration for the Nordic Roots Festival. All it took was a look at this YouTube video of a performance by them on Swedish morning television, and we were hooked:

Their festival performance was enchanting... since then they've been nominated for two Swedish Grammys. Let's hope we see them back here soon.

*Musée Mécanique: A Portland-based ensemble that I'm hoping we'll see come through in February. Quiet pop music with innovative instruments and creative arrangements. Their album, Hold This Ghost is just gorgeous, produced by the brilliant Tucker Martine (Laura Veirs, Decemberists, Jim White). Here's a live clip... but really, check out the record:

*Son Lux: This one comes courtesy of the NPR Music folks, one of those podcasts I talked about in my previous blogs, Second Stage. This was their pick for Best New Artist of the Year. This is a project by multi-instrumentalist Ryan Lott. I'll let Second Stage producer Robin Hilton describe:

"The thing that's great about this record is that it has this incredible range of energy and emotion. The songs have this great narrative arc. They may start off really quiet and intimate and solitary. And then they just kick you in the stomach. They just erupt. I feel sometimes, when I'm listening to this record, like the songs just grab me by the collar, throw me to the ground, and then apologized."

*Fredrik: Back to Sweden! This one was first brought to my attention by local music agent Paul Gillis, and I keep going back to it. It's a great record... let's hope they tour the U.S. in 2009.

Check them out:

Enjoy these, and have some fun over the holidays!

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